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Q&A with Dr. Julie Gill: How tech innovation has created gaps in the radiology student’s education

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | December 22, 2017
From the November 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


If I’m done with class material early one day I’ll pull up that PowerPoint and we’ll go around the room pronouncing them. They can tag out once, or call a friend, the person sitting next to them, if they can’t say the word. It’s a worthwhile exercise because, in the medical field, if you don’t pronounce the words correctly, you’re looked at as not as intelligent as other professionals who can say them and use them correctly in a sentence.

I think a lot of that goes back to the students and technologists not hearing those physicians dictating, not hearing them discuss cases with other radiologists or attending physicians, which now would be your hospitalists. They’re just not having that opportunity because that is all being done now in the privacy of the radiologist’s office.

HCB News: Has research been done to illustrate the importance of this kind of education?
JG: I haven’t seen any studies. I have done informal discussions. In Ohio, our educators group is very collegial and very collaborative. We often just ask each other about issues. Other educators throughout the state are making comments in terms of their students not having that relationship with the radiologists, not being able to communicate as clearly as we want them to. It would be a great research study.

HCB News: Would you say this issue is part of a larger discussion about how digital technology and the EHR are isolating care providers?
JG: It is. Although there are countless advantages when you compare our new digital system to the film system of old, the lack of communication amongst health care team members is directly attributable to not having opportunities to communicate. I think it is an obvious disadvantage.

HCB News: How does this problem manifest itself in patient outcomes?
JG: I think if the technologist doesn’t understand some of the terminology associated with the patient’s pathology or clinical history, it could result in suboptimal communication of that, or of any pertinent clinical information to the radiologist.

When those films used to hang in the light room, I would always see the technologist learning from the physicians. Some of that opportunity has now been taken away due to the isolation of the radiologist in his or her office.

HCB News: What do you think the solution is – a conscientious effort to address this issue?
JG: Conscientious effort is a good phrase. I know that many educational programs now ask the radiology group if their students can do a short rotation while the radiologist is dictating, or perhaps even communicating with another physician via phone. I think that is a great opportunity for our students.

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